The Academic Quality and Standards Committee oversees the development and implementation of University policy on  quality assurance for programmes of study, including arrangements for the approval of new programmes (Validation) and the periodic review of existing programmes.  It also oversees the maintenance of the standards of University taught awards, including associated considerations such as the appointment and removal of internal and external examiners. The full scope of its responsibilities is summarised in the Terms of Reference of the Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
  • Professor Catherine Bachleda (Chair)


    Professor Catherine Bachleda is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar. She has over a decade of experience working in the tertiary environment, underpinned by almost 25 years of experience in the service industries of health, law, and education. Over the course of her career she has held leadership positions that include: Chief Executive Officer of an accredited corporation providing executive and continuing education; Director of a small corporate law firm; Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs at an accredited American Liberal Arts University located in Morocco and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gibraltar. In these roles, she has provided leadership in strategic planning, quality assurance, staff performance management and development, programme design and implementation, resource allocation and statutory compliance. She also possesses extensive experience in establishing accreditation compliant processes and in business development.

    Catherine holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Juris Doctor, and a Master of Business Administration. She has worked in academia and/or industry in North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia. Her main research interests lie in the fields of consumer behaviour and services marketing. She was awarded Outstanding Paper in the 2017 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

    Full Profile

  • Mr Will Bowen-Jones

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Will Bowen-Jones began his career at the University of Worcester in the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science (ISES), teaching on its under-and post-graduate sports programmes. This was quickly followed with course leadership of the sports studies and PGCE PE programmes, which he relinquished to take charge of Learning and Teaching in the Institute. He held this title from 2004 until 2013, while also adding the title of Head of Quality Enhancement and he was promoted to Associate Head in 2008. During his time in ISES he led a wide range of strategic enhancement initiatives, all of which were designed to improve the student experience. In recognition of his work he was made a Senior Teaching Fellow of the University in 2011.

    He is a regular presenter at UK national conferences (e.g. HEA, HEIR), where he also leads workshops on a range of initiatives. He attends key International Learning and Teaching Conferences, (e.g. EDULEARN and INTED) – not only as a presenter but also as Chair of conference symposia. Between 2013 and 2015 he took up a secondment to lead Educational Development across the University and now leads cross-University projects.

    Full Profile

  • Dr Tim Burton

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Until October 2016, Tim Burton was the Head of Standards, Quality and Enhancement at QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, UK) having joined QAA as an Assistant Director in 2009.

    He has an LLB and in 1991 graduated with a PhD from the University of Hull with a thesis entitled: ‘Public participation – principles and practice: The legal regulation of water pollution.’

    Prior to QAA he was at the University of Hull, as a lecturer in law for six years before working in student administration and then the University Quality Office as Senior Quality Officer (from 2003). During that time he was an Audit Secretary for QAA and an active member of the Academic Registrars’ Quality Practitioners’ Group, the Northern Universities Consortium and the Quality Strategy Network. Responsibilities included developing regulations and procedures on various aspects of quality assurance, including plagiarism and other forms of academic misconduct, and investigating complaints by students.

    At QAA he led the team responsible for the maintenance and enhancement of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and for working with higher education providers to embed the Quality Code in their practice. He has a particular interest in external examining, the quality assurance of learning and teaching and assessment, having led the development of those chapters within the Quality Code, and having developed a guide for early career staff about assessment. He was a member of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) Steering Group which produced their Good Practice Framework on complaints and appeals and contributed to HEA work on assessment and external examining.

    He is now an independent higher education consultant specialising in assisting universities and colleges in developing their academic standards and quality frameworks.

    Full Profile

  • Professor Peter Bush

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    A geography graduate of University College London and holding a PhD from the University of Leeds in 1970, he was successively Senior and Principal lecturer in Geography at Staffordshire University before moving in 1981 to Glasgow Caledonian University as Head of the Humanities Department. Professor Bush was subsequently appointed Vice Principal with a remit to lead on quality assurance and develop a portfolio of Continuing Education opportunities. The title of Professor of Higher Education was conferred in 1991, and endorsed subsequently by the Open University and the University of Northampton. He joined the Open University as Regional Director for South-West England in 2000, serving also as Director in Wales and then as Head of Regional Collaboration and Partnerships. In 2005, Professor Bush was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and then Deputy to the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Northampton, with oversight of curriculum development, quality assurance, student relationships and widening participation until my retirement in 2011.

    In addition to his institutional responsibilities in Scotland, he was the inaugural chair of the Scottish Advisory Committee on Credit and Access, chair of the Universities Association for Continuing Education (Scotland) and was a member of a number of CNAA and HEQC Committees, and served on the Joint Planning Group (established in 1996 under the Secretary of State) that reviewed UK quality assurance and which led to the establishment of the QAA. He was appointed as a Great Britain representative on the Northern Ireland Higher Education Council for eight years from 1992. He chaired educational partnership meetings in Northamptonshire, led the development of University of Northampton links with county FE Colleges, and served on the Widening Participation Advisory Committee of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) from 2009- 2014. He served as a member of HEFCE’s widening participation/student opportunity committee from 2009-2015.

    Professor Bush was first appointed as a QAA (initially HEQC) reviewer/auditor in 1993, and have since then been a member of review panels, operating across a range of audit/review methodologies, for a number of Universities in England, Scotland, Wales and overseas. From 2011, Professor Bush undertook a range of QAA institutional reviews of universities and colleges, as well as auditing Colleges providing programmes for international students and those delivering Early Years Teacher programmes, and serving on scrutiny panels assessing proposals from institutions seeking the authority to award Taught Degrees. He acted as a consultant to a number of English universities advising on quality assurance matters. He served as an independent governor of Southampton Solent University from 2009-2015, and was an external member of the Academic Board of Arden University from 2012 to 2016. He was appointed to the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Council’s Register of Auditors for the higher education audit cycles for 2014-2016 and 2017-2019.

    Full Profile

  • Dr Darren Fa

    Director of Academic Programmes & Research

    After obtaining a first-class honours degree in Education with QTS in 1990, Darren taught for ten years during which he read for and completed his PhD in Biological Oceanography at the University of Southampton. He then moved to the Gibraltar Museum in 1999 during which time he also read for a Masters Degree in Museum Studies from the University of Leicester. Darren was then chosen to be seconded as part of the team that developed and implemented the roadmap for the creation of the University of Gibraltar, eventually joining its team as Director of Academic Programmes and Research in 2014.

    As well as authoring several popular books, Darren has published over 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters mainly on ecological and archaeological subjects, and has been principal investigator on a number of EU and EFCHED funded projects, several of which received international awards. His primary research areas are in marine species ecology and conservation, palaeoecology, and human evolution and behaviour, especially the relationship between people and the sea in the past.
    He is responsible for all the academic research that takes place under the aegis of the University, and is a member of the University’s Research and Research Degrees Committee as well as its Academic Board. He is also directly responsible for the development and delivery of a number of its academic programmes, having personally written the specifications for the MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change and the University’s flagship PhD programme.

    Amongst other things, Darren is a member of HMGoG’s statutory Nature Conservancy Council, Climate Change Committee and Scientific Diving Committee, as well as member of the UNESCO WHS Gorham’s Cave Complex Action Forum. He is an appointed mentor on the Commonwealth Futures Climate Research Cohort and European Commission Expert on Environment and Higher Education. He is a registered Scientific Diver, a Chartered Biologist by the Royal Society of Biology and Elected Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. He is married with three daughters and somehow finds time to dive, ride and play music when he can.”

    Full Profile

  • Dr Geraldine Finlayson

    Research Fellow

    Dr Geraldine Finlayson is Managing Director and Director of Heritage and Environmental Services at the Gibraltar National Museum, and World Heritage Site Coordinator of the Gorham’s Cave Complex. Geraldine is also Adjunct Professor at Liverpool John Moores University.

    She has been an active researcher for over thirty years, during which time she has authored or co-authored over sixty peer-reviewed publications, and has presented over thirty papers at international conferences.

    She was awarded her PhD by Anglia Ruskin University for her thesis Climate, Vegetation and Biodiversity – A Multiscale Study of the South of the Iberian Peninsula. Her main areas of interest are spatio-temporal distribution patterns of vegetation and animals, and the relationships between climate, vegetation, landscape features and biodiversity – focusing mainly on the Iberian Peninsula within the Quaternary Period. She is currently also working on the cultural influences on the development of the Gibraltarian ‘cuisine’, Gibraltar’s submerged/underwater cultural heritage and underwater archaeology. She also recently completed her MSc at the University of Leicester in Museum Studies, and currently serves on HM Government of Gibraltar’s Climate Change Forum, Urban Renewal Committee, and the MOD Conservation Forum. In 2006 she was granted the Gibraltar Award in HM the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

    Full Profile

  • Professor Ann Holmes

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Professor Ann Holmes has an emeritus professorship in Law awarded by the University of Wolverhampton where she held the post of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) until September 2014. Following her retirement from the University she continues to undertake a variety of work for the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) which has responsibility for assuring the quality and standards of higher education institutions, public and private, in England and Wales.

    She also works as an independent consultant advising higher education institutions on a range of matters, including preparing them for QAA review, Degree Awarding Powers, and Overseas review. She continues to write in the field of employment law and is preparing the 11th edition of Cases & Materials on Employment Law with Professor Richard W Painter, as well as contributing to a book on the impact of quality on libraries and associated resource.

    She is a member of the Academic Board (Arden University), Programme Scrutiny Committee ( Goldsmiths), and Teaching Committee (Westminster University). Professor Holmes is also an external assessor for the  Employment Law programmes at University of East Anglia (UEA).

    Full Profile

  • Mr Derfel Owen

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Derfel Owen’s career has been spent in student-facing roles. Following a period working in students’ unions in 2007, Derfel joined the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) where he led efforts to improve student engagement and participation in the agency’s work, but also to raise the profile of student views and expectations in shaping and developing activities. In 2011 Derfel moved to work at the University of Exeter and in 2014 joined UCL where he is responsible for the governance structures of the University, leading the development of academic policies, complaints and appeals, student engagement, quality assurance and enhancement and student data.

    Derfel is recognised as a leading authority on student engagement and quality assurance, he has spoken at numerous international conferences and recently co-edited The Student Engagement Handbook: Practice in Higher Education.

    Full Profile

  • Professor Jon Scott

    Academic Quality and Standards Committee Member

    Jon is a higher education consultant with extensive current experience in quality assurance and developing practice in learning and teaching. His most recent academic role was as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) at the University of Leicester where he now holds an emeritus chair in Bioscience Education.

    Full Profile

  • Ms Emilia Todorova

    Academic Quality and Learning Manager

    As Academic Quality and Learning Manager, I am responsible for leading on the University’s quality assurance and enhancement activities. I work with staff across the University to ensure that quality is maintained and developed across all areas, and that we deliver a fantastic student learning experience. I work both internally and manage any external quality assurance activities that the University is subject to. I have a specific focus on enhancement activities and developing the student learning experience.

    Full Profile